Do Nail Files Wear Out?

Nail files have to be fairly tough and durable but you might be asking yourself – do nail files wear out?

So Let’s Find out: Do Nail Files Wear Out?

Firstly, it depends on the nail file! Of course, a nail file crafted of pure diamond would never wear out (sadly we don’t sell those!). An emery board nail file, however, will wear out pretty quickly. It’s hard to say exactly how many files an emery board will last but 5 to 15 files seems like a decent estimate. This will depend on how long your nails are how aggressively you file them. Also, some people will have much tougher nails than others and will, therefore, cause greater wear to the file.

Emery boards will become noticeably smoother and less able to file properly as they wear out. It’s pretty obvious when they need to be replaced as they’ll simply not file your nail very well or at all.

What About Steel Nail Files?

Emery boards don’t last long and aren’t particularly environmentally friendly. Steel nail files last much, much longer, and are far more environmentally friendly. Steel nail files haven’t always been the smoothest but they’re much better now and can file more effectively than emery boards.

Metal nail files work by using an etched surface to cause friction on the nail. Your nail is softer than the metal so it rubs away. The nail file, therefore, will wear slightly but much, much slower than the nail. 

Some people’s nails are obviously harder than others and harder nails may cause increased wear but it’s pretty unlikely this will make a major difference.

However, sometimes it might seem like your nail file is wearing out and becoming less effective when that’s not actually the case. To produce the adequate amount of friction to file your nail, you need the etching in the nail file to be clear. If it is dirty or filled with muck, it won’t file as well. This will happen inevitably over time and nail polishes and paint may exacerbate the matter. To solve this problem you just need to give the nail file a clean with warm soapy water and clear out the etching by rubbing with a cloth or a nail brush. Dry it off properly and your nail file will be as good as new!

What About Other Types of Files?

There are actually other types of nail files around including glass and crystal nail files. These are generally not so longlasting. Both the crystals used in crystal nail files and glass is softer than steel, so they won’t last as long as a trusty steel nail file.

How Many Years Will a Nail File Last?

It’s hard to answer! Generally, though, nail files should last several years unless your nails are extremely hard! You can visually inspect the file periodically to check whether the etching is still adequate and check your nails to assess the quality of filing.

Eventually, in the long term, you will notice your nail file is not working quite as well. This can happen over many years, depending on how often you use your file and how well you look after it. You might find you have to work harder to get your nails filed or that the file doesn’t do quite such a good job as it used to. Files may alternatively become snagged and uneven which might cause uneven filing. Pay close attention to your nails and keep your file clean. 

If your nail file is evidently getting worse, it just means it’s time for a new file. A stainless steel metal nail file lasts far longer than emery boards and similar alternatives. They need replacing every few weeks whereas a metal nail file can go for years. You can pick up a pack of three from Clear Confidence for a great price. They undoubtedly represent fantastic value over the years they should last! Steel is hands down the best nail file material and you’re very unlikely to need to replace it very often. 

Don’t forget your other essential nail care supplies like a wooden nail brush and nail clippers. Together, these products make it possible to care for your nails perfectly and with minimal cost and replacement. 

Are Metal Nail Files Bad?

Whilst metal nail files may have been very abrasive and a bit too sharp in the past, they’re now much smoother and friendlier for use even on fragile nails. Metal nail files last longer and are very effective. They’re environmentally friendly too.

Are Steel Nail Files Environmentally Friendly?

Steel nail files don’t use one-use plastics or other disposable materials, so yes, they are environmentally-friendly compared to emery boards and other disposable files. Steel nail files will last years upon years and considering their tiny size, they’re one of the more eco-friendly health and beauty items going!

Using a Nail File Properly

Proper technique when filing your nails will not only benefit your nails but the file too, helping it last as long as it can. Nails softened by warm water and soap will file more easily but soap may also clog up your file so make sure your washed nails are fairly dry and totally clean before you start.

The first thing to remember is that nail filing is not a speed competition! Taking your time will help you avoid snagging or ripping. File in one direction only at the start and build up a rhythm. Filing both back and forth may lead to snagging if you do it too soon. You want to remove any nicks first. Only then can you move the file across the whole nail more naturally.

When you’re done, always wash your nail file thoroughly. It’s best to dry it and store it in a clean dry place. Stainless steel won’t rust but it’s still best to keep it clean and dry when possible!

That should be it! Of course, nail filing is relatively easy and with proper steel nail files that are effective and environmentally-friendly, it should be a pleasure!

So there you have it, the answer to “do nail files wear out?” and some tips on making them last as long as possible!

If you’re looking for the ultimate nail files, check out our stainless steel metal nail files

Metal Nail Files (Pack of 3)


98 units available in stock

Searching for ways to better tidy up your nails?

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